"Three days of fabulous free music in a vibrant community renowned for its cultural arts and smarts--that's FAIRfest in a nutshell," says James Moore, festival founding member, adding with a smile, "We may be small but we got it all. But there's nothing small about this year's musical lineup."
Friday, June 20th the festival opens with a roar! At 4:30pm, FAIRfest picks up where it left off with last year's closing act vibrophonist Mike Dillon, who not only brought the house down, he brought the heavens down, too, in a torrential rainstorm! A fitting tribute to a man who drove 1000 miles overnight to play the inaugural festival because of his love for Fairfield. He'll be joined by Glenn Hartman, accordionist of the storied New Orleans Klezmer All Stars, who inspired dancing in the street as main stage headliners last year, and James Singleton, one the best and most sought after bassists in New Orleans.
Next up, Charanga Tropical, a 9-piece Cuban salsa band from Minneapolis, who return to the main stage with their authentic, dance-invoking blend of Afro-Cuban rhythms and beyond. Then it's dapper, toe-tapper David Lindley, Jackson Browne's trusty slide guitar player, Grammy nominee and world music lover. His exquisite guitar mastery melds perfectly with an entertaining and singular sense of humor.
Headlining Friday night is acclaimed triple Grammy-winners Los Lobos, best known for their remake of the 1958 Ritchie Valens' hit "La Bamba" which scored a number one hit. The band is composed of original members who hail from the same neighborhood in East L.A.. Love of community, pride of neighborhoo and commitment to family are major themes in their songs. Los Lobos is on their 40th anniversary tour and have played the White House several times.
Saturday on the main stage it's Des Moines' musical band Christopher the Conquered. Keyboardist/front man Chris Ford is co-founder of Maximum Ames Records and huge force behind DM's 80/35 festival. Speaking of Maximum Ames, next up we present the Mumfords, a lively horn-infused confab from Ames. Lead man Nate Logsdon marries former Fairfield torch singer Adrien Daller June 15th and will perform at FAIRfest before the newlyweds take off on their honeymoon.
Saturday also features new Nashville breakout rockers MODOC. Described as true rock'n'roll, this tight powerhouse quartet, originally from Indiana, jumps the tracks in the black Keys vein and are making their mark in the music business with their self-titled record MODOC. Then it's local favorites Bambu who celebrate their 20th anniversary of hypnotic dance grooves with another special appearance at FAIRfest.
Headlining Saturday night it's Nawlins Mardi Gras time right here on Main Street with the heralded Rebirth Brass Band. This Grammy award-winning 9-piece is one of the most heralded brass bands in the country and are guaranteed to the shake the cobwebs out of your soul. Be sure and join the special 2nd line parade in the lead up to their set.
Also Saturday, the KMCD afternoon stage kicks off at noon in Central Park with performances by Iowa City's Dave Zollo and Jason Carl and the Whole Damn Band of the Quad Cities--rock, folk, blues, and originals written and performed with passion and honesty. Sunday on the town square, it's Fox & Crow, singer/songwriters from Des Moines whose music is informed by Americana, folk and blues genres. Luke Fox and Bonita Crowe will release their first EP “The Meadow Moon” in May 2014. They're followed by Milltown playing their special blend of bluegrass from the banks of the Mighty Mississippi.
Sunday it's a full lineup on the main stage with the Fairfield's funky Apocalypso Tantric Boys Choir with Dana T, Robert Reeder's highly anticipated new project of original material, and the Jefferson County Green Band, plus the sultry song stylings of Pieta Brown & and take-no-prisoners swamp bucket guitar of Bo Ramsey, who graced the Sondheim Center stage last year. Next up, it's Minneapolis-based indie roots band The Pines, founded by Iowa natives David Huckfelt and Benson Ramsey.
Then it's Nashville's legendary Mac Gayden with Zenphonic performing their unique blend of rock, country, pop and soul and featuring Mac's daughter Oceana. Mac is known far and wide for his supple slide guitar work, songwriting gifts ["Everlasting Love'] and improvisational skills. FAIRfest will close where it began with the ever-ready, highly entertaining Mike Dillon and the Outsiders Band with a special friends' super jam finale.
Other acts include Keelan Dimick, 350 Duo, Yojimbo, Natalie Brown Paul Weddle, Host Country, Truckstop Souvenir, and more. Stay tuned for full schedule lineup.
Did we mention all this world class music is free?